Trust Honda to come up with a product as quirky and as unique as the Honda e, its first electric car built to please the fashionable EV buyer rather than pose as a convenient alternative to a premium hatchback. Fundamentally, it’s very expensive, lacks range and is more of a fashion statement than showpiece, but the e also shows that the Japanese car-maker has more guts than others.
The 2021 Honda e has had considerable investment being a ground up EV while also following the concept’s retro-themed design language. No doubt, it’s tiny but packs a punch with its clean and retro lines (we love the lack of proper rearview mirrors which makes it fit into impossible parking spots with ease). This is by far the most interesting small car out there in terms of design for sure.
However, you do feel that the folks at Honda have had their imagination run wild with a cabin having an…in-built aquarium. Yup, the e’s vast touchscreen laden dash becomes an aquarium when stationary and you can even ‘feed’ the fishes. The virtual fish tank also lets you configure how many fish you can have! Don’t think even the fanciest limousine out there can claim to have that feature.
The cabin itself has a lounge-like feel with massive screens covering the whole real estate in front of you and large chairs with a surprising amount of space. EVs don’t need many components hence can afford to have a longer wheelbase within a compact exterior. Beneath this heap of quirkiness, you get a digital key, hidden door handles and digital displays for the side and rear-view mirrors. There is also synthetic wood and sofa like fabric being used which lends the car a less of a utilitarian feel and more of a comfy home-like environment.
The Honda e has its lithium-ion batteries mounted low while it sits on a rear-drive electric platform which is bespoke for this car. The car can charge up-to 80 per cent within 30 minutes via fast charging while one-pedal driving is there with strong regenerative braking. That said, its biggest Achilles heel is its 200km plus official range while the real-world figure is much less. Less weight and a smaller battery may result in agile handling but the lack of range is a huge turn-off for sure.
Hence, the Honda e is more of a stylish city-bred EV which looks cool and will entertain you even when you are stuck in traffic or even while having range anxiety (which is going to happen a lot). The poor range and the high asking price ($80,000 or thereabouts if importing one to Australia) makes the Honda e less of a commercial success than it should have been and instead is a very appealing EV that’s more of an engineering/designer showcase rather than a bean-counter’s car.